Being and thinking like an artist is no easy task. Not just because of the ability, patience, and courage required, but because you must be primed to receive and deliver your ideas from such a creative head space. Like anything else, this requires a certain conditioning. Below are four "musts" that I've identified that might help you to get closer to thinking and creating from an artist's mindset.
1. Must be a blank slate.
Being a blank slate is so important because you don't want new ideas to be covered by old molds of thought. This will prevent you from realizing their potential. Imagine you're about to paint a picture. You will have a much different relationship with those new images when applied to a clean canvass versus painting over an old one. And sometimes being a blank slate is the willingness to let the former die so that you can be reborn.
2. Must be willing to be vulnerable in front of the world.
One of the things that all artists possess is a willingness to bare their souls in front of all. Great artists let it all hang out. Artists like Charlie Parker, Jackson Pollock, and Marlon Brando left nothing to the imagination. They embodied total spiritual and emotional transparency. You have to be willing to show the world your bad as well as your good, and all that's in between.
3. Must be aware
Being aware is crucial. Great art is not only a reflection of the times but what artists often reflect is how things could be different or maybe even better. This is why John Coltrane's A Love Supreme could not have been created during the 1940s, or why Albert Ayler would not have existed during the 1930s. There was nothing going on to inspire those types of creations. If we as artists are going to be a step or two ahead of popular trends and modes of thought, we have to be aware enough to know what we're getting ahead of.
4. Must have skills sets
You can be the most creative and innovative thinker in modern times; however, if you don't have the skill sets to bring those creative and innovative thoughts to fruition, they won't amount to a hill of beans. Often times, this is where people drop the ball. I've encountered many who come across as imposing figures on paper, or they may talk a good game; yet, they appear flat when you actually hear them play. This is because they lack the musical, mental, and instrument control to allow their ideas to prevail uncompromised. This takes work. I don't have an answer as to how to make this happen. All I can say is, "Make it happen, any way you can."